When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


'Anna Karenina,' Rushing Headlong Toward Her Train

Nov 15, 2012
Originally published on May 9, 2013 4:24 pm

After he'd finished reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, did director Joe Wright scribble on the last page, "Needs more pep?"

Wright is, after all, the man who put the cute little ampersand in Pride & Prejudice and gave us a giggly Lizzie Bennet rendered by Keira Knightley. Knightley is back again in the title role as the Russian chick who loves and loses and throws herself under a train.

Casting the British actress, whose last memorable performance was in Bend It Like Beckham and who appears topless on the cover of the current Allure magazine, may have brought roses to the cheeks of the folks in marketing. But it creates a crippling problem with regard to gravitas, of which more anon.

Meantime, welcome to Joe Wright's Anna Karenina: The Musical. No one actually sings, but from the proscenium-arch opening on the adulterer Oblonsky (Matthew Macfadyen) scurrying down a well-upholstered hallway in search of fun, to its final shots of noble peasants rhythmically scything, the movie sets out to deliver Broadway dazzle.

There are dances, there are races, there are freeze-frame tableaux vivants in the manner of My Fair Lady. There is heaving between the sheets, followed by wringing of hands and rueing of the day.

And for a while at least, why not have a ball? Tolstoy gave good ballroom, too, and for all his reputation as the ultimate realist writer, he deployed an array of literary strategies in Anna Karenina — including a section written from the point of view of a dog. But his prose wasn't forever blaring, "Look, Ma, no hands!"

And given that Anna's adventures in extramarital romance famously end in tears, there are (or should be) limits to how long you can sustain the jaunty tone; Wright keeps at it, alas, until it's too late for tragedy, even considering the endlessly foreshadowing grind of giant train wheels presumably meant to remind us that this is not a caper.

The best that can be said of Knightley is that she's puppy-eyed eye candy, in vibrant reds and blacks with fur trims to die for. But that's window dressing, and under her glossy surface, Anna Karenina is a woman of many passionately conflicting parts — reluctant temptress, ardent lover, loving mother, an urban sophisticate who's also deeply insecure and hungry for approval. She's a modern woman way before her time.

All of which Knightley mangles into her customary rotation of pouty-lipped sex kitten, hysteric, and tragic victim of society, each pose separated by little gasps of surprise. Inner life comes hard to Knightley, and she never gets a grip on the mounting emotional turmoil that threatens to crush Anna as she progresses from stylish young hipster-about-town to kept woman to bereft mother to paranoid social pariah.

It doesn't help that her paramour, Count Vronsky, is played by a vapid Aaron Taylor-Johnson in bottle-blond hair and sparkly teeth. Or that Knightley is flanked by three actresses — Kelly MacDonald as her frumpy but admiring sister-in-law (allegedly modeled on Tolstoy's long-suffering wife), Olivia Williams as Vronsky's mother, and Emily Watson as a prim paragon — any of whom who would have done full justice to Anna's long slide into despair.

Still, there are things here to treasure, among them the inspired bit of casting mischief that has bad boy Jude Law as Anna's husband, Karenin, a stuffy, old-school bureaucrat untenably stuck between forgiveness and revenge for his wife's betrayal. No winking at the audience here: Law commits fully to the role and to Tom Stoppard's often brilliantly pithy screenplay.

It's Law's earnest Karenin who articulates the novel's deeper moral dilemmas, to the tortured nature that traps Anna (and Tolstoy) between the old, rigidly rule-bound world and an emerging new one that's bringing divorce, uppity women and moral uncertainty with it. "I'd call on her if she'd only broken the law, but she broke the rules," whispers one imperial matron after giving a desperate Anna the cold shoulder.

Small wonder that the most successful love story in this Karenina is between the landowner Levin (Domnhall Gleeson) and Kitty (Alicia Vikander), a flighty young thing who, having gotten over her own crush on Vronsky, steps up to become a sterling country wife. Re-enter peasants, rhythmically scything.

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